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Black Cloud Paperback – April 23, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Civil Coping Mechanisms (April 23, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193786524X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937865245
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Transgressive literature is the type of product that aims to borrow your spirit for the duration in which you read it. When I read Ballard's "Crash," for instance, I didn't feel violated, despite the fact that I've been in twenty-three collisions. There really is nothing arousing or fantastic about a car crash. Believe me, I know.

"Black Cloud," however, is arousing in that the narrator or narrators (?) could very well be you. Everyone tries to survive their twenties and some of us don't. When you read this, you'll enjoy a whirlwind of short stories that delve into drugs, mental illness, disposable sex and, ultimately, the State-sponsored drugs employed to correct the former.

You've done this, and it is relative to you. Despite the voyeuristic plug into a young woman's head and POV, the reader will be reminded of the bad times (and good ones) and the people whom you had lost in your twenties.

The book evokes anger and loss, but does not craft a morality play. Do not expect Escoria to tell you that "Doing drugs will make x,y,z happen." The stories negate the concept of shame and I find that refreshing in this sub-genre. "Black Cloud" makes even Irvine Welsh seem preachy.

A beautiful collection, solid production and definitely worth a second look. Actually, you will have to read it again to check if you aren't looking in a mirror. Scary stuff!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I flipped through this book at a friend's house and was instantly sold when I saw the table of contents. Having grown up in California myself, I chuckled when I saw the title of the first chapter. Those had been my sentiments every day I lived there. [Expletive] California.

I managed to read this book in one sitting. Escoria's prose is dark and beautiful. I found myself eating up every word on every page. Despite being a quick read, I felt fulfilled. BLACK CLOUD reminded me of Sylvia Plath and Francesca Lia Block, but different and new and better. Strong female narration on a wicked path of self destruction, and haunting as hell. This is a book I know and look forward to reading several times a year.

Don't let my lady writer references turn you off though. My lit-snob boyfriend ended up stealing my copy after I finished reading it, and I'm pretty sure he got to reviewing this before I did.

Point: EVERYONE should read this book. If this is her debut, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
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Format: Paperback
Black Cloud, despite what you may or may not think going in, is not the lurid confession of some angst-happy Goth girl with Johnny the Homicidal Maniac tattoos. It's not that at all. There is stunning depth to Escoria's writing, a penetrating detachment, and each story is a subtle exorcism--your head will spin and you may even vomit and it will be beautiful and, for a moment, it might even feel like your heart has stopped.

Read the rest of my review at That Lit Site (thatlitsite.com).
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A TOP SHELF review, originally published in the February 13, 2015 edition of The Monitor

You will not soon forget Black Cloud, the debut collection by Juliet Escoria. Razor-sharp and brutally honest, like Sylvia Plath in the midst of a meth comedown, these short tales of self-destruction and survival seek not to preach or shame but to stare unflinchingly at the reality of a series of 20-something women, broken since childhood, who must work through a skein of debilitating states (each represented by a story): resentment, confusion, apathy, guilt, disgust, spite, revenge, fear, powerlessness, self-loathing, envy and shame.

Poetic, poignant and powerful, these pieces—women who eschew good but unremarkable men so they can punish themselves with monsters, those who seek quietus in drugs or sex, those who have overcome but who live with the ghosts of abuse and degradation—will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

Keep your eye on Juliet Escoria: she’s got chops and staying power.
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after a reading of black cloud by ms. juliet escoria.

the price in relation to the word count only slightly disappoints me, but i'll get over it.

i think of the vignette-like stories as stretched-out poems, or i would except they are exposition-heavy, conversational, and confessional (sounding?). certain things lack description. i wouldn't say i miss description or think it belongs there. my imagination is at least strong enough to sustain images, especially when descriptions of sensations (as an example) are quick but highly specific or relate clearly a setting, which anchors me and anchoring i sorely need.

with each story she gives herself room to breathe. there is quietness. stillness. she introduces themes with a kind of double titling system i think is overall innovative. inherent in the book's structure, then, is also its reasoning for the structure. i think the space permits meditation upon the themes. if readers explain they read the whole collection in one sitting, i suspect its presentation is part of it. the space between the stories contributes to their lack of density.

if this were a novella or novel such a structure would destroy any sense of continuity i might feebly try to form. and along these lines, how do i consider the photographs and the consistent voice between the narratives without the author accidentally or intentionally persuading me that each narrative pertains to one character, a real person, a close-persona? the reality is, from the text, i can't really derive that as a matter of fact but this in no way impedes comprehension of each section.

there is something obviously un-intellectual about the text, i must admit.

pgs 43-44 suffer from 'disjointedness'.
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